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Monday, June 19, 2006

Rheumatoid Arthritis Information - Treatments - Prevention

Topics covered on Arthritis

* Arthritis Information
* What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
* Rheumatoid Arthritis and Specialty Sleep
* Vitamin K, An Arthritis Preventative Home Remedy
* Are You Stricken With Chronic Inflammatory Arthritis?
* How hemp seed oil can help your arthritis
* Natural Remedy For Arthritis

Arthritis Information
"Arthritis" is a generic term used today but what does it mean. "Arthr" means joint or articulation. "It is" means inflammation or swelling. Since there are more than 15 different types of arthritis when a person says, "I have arthritis" it begs the question: what kind?

Degenerative Joint Disease

The most common type is degenerative joint disease (DJD) or called osteoarthritis (OA)(. The irony about the most common arthritis is it not considered an inflammatory condition. This condition is a "degenerative" arthritis meaning cartilage and bone is eroding or degenerating.

Another irony is this condition is treated with NSAID's (anti-inflammatory medicine). When considering this condition is not caused by inflammation the NSAID's are helping relieve pain in other ways. Most likely the degeneration in the joint is rubbing or causing irritation on soft tissue around the joint leading to swelling.

The best way to slow DJD is keep the joints moving and active through exercise, stretching and muscle strengthening.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is well known condition that is an inflammatory disease. It is thought RA is an autoimmune disease that can become severe. This condition affects the hands, and other joints, leading to painful joints bone erosions. Redness and swelling and in both hands are classic signs and symptoms of RA.

Blood tests and x-rays help confirm this condition. Since this is an inflammatory condition a diet low in pro-inflammatory foods is recommended. Other medications for inflammation and the condition itself are used to treat RA.


Gout is an arthritis that is considered a metabolic disorder. Too much monosodium urate crystals are being deposited into joints. A classic joint affected is the big toe, called podagra, but the wrist and hands can also be affected. These crystals are from certain meats and if too much of these meats are consumed then potentially gout could result.

However, the exact cause of this condition is not known. Swelling, redness and pain are big signs and symptoms of this arthritis and potential bone erosion can result. Medications and usually a diet low in certain meats and decreased alcohol consumption is recommended.


There are many other types of arthritis including a debilitating condition called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) that affects mainly males. This condition leads to a spinal fusion of vertebral segments.

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that maybe associated with psoriasis, or a skin condition. Pseudogout is a condition that can be confused with gout (thus the name) but has other type of crystal deposition in the joint.


It is recommended to know what type of arthritis the sufferer has because each kind maybe treated differently. So the next time you primary health care provider indicates you have "arthritis" clarify which type so you become more informed on potential treatment and management strategies.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is the destructive disease that targets primarily joints. However, it also affects many other organs and systems, including brain, heart, kidneys, spleen, blood vessels, lungs, and muscles.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects around 1 in 100 people. In developed countries rheumatoid arthritis is the most common autoimmune disease. Though rheumatoid arthritis may start at any age, it is more common after sixty. One in twenty women over the age of 65 years suffers the disease. Economically it is very expensive disease. Besides high direct medical cost, there is much greater indirect medical price tag. Rheumatoid arthritis cause many complications, requires drastic therapies and orthopedic surgery. Doctors estimate that rheumatoid arthritis makes a one in-three patient permanently disabled. Half of the patients stop work in first decade of diagnosis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease. It leads to the loss of mobility due to joint destruction and pain. The joints suffer in a polyarticular manner. That means that many joints affected at the same time. Usually in the beginning joint problems are asymmetrical, later symmetrical ones. The pain improves when you use affected joints. Also there is the morning stiffness of all joints for an hour or more. In osteoarthritis pain worsens in opposite way - over the day after use.

Erosion and destruction of the joint surfaces eventually leads to deformity. The fingers are typically deviated towards the little finger and make unnatural shapes: boutonniere deformity, swan neck deformity, Z-Thumb, "squared hand�. Besides joints problems patients suffer anemia, gastrointestinal bleeding from drugs, splenomegaly (big spleen) and leucopenia (Felty's syndrome), the salivary and lacrimal (tear) glands inflammation (Sjogren's syndrome). Dermatological marks of rheumatoid arthritis include subcutaneous (under skin) nodules mostly on elbows. Lungs may get fibrosis and pulmonary effusions. Blood vessel disorders lead to nail fold infarcts, neuropathies and nephropathies. Amyloidosis affects kidneys, heart and muscles. Heart also suffers form pericarditis and valve destruction. Dry eyes, sclera inflammation and softening may be found. Fissure and leaking of eye humor could happen. Neurological system is affected by neuritis and atlanto-axial subluxation. Eventually it may lead to compression of the spinal cord, paralysis and quadriplegia.

To diagnose rheumatoid arthritis American College of Rheumatologists developed the criteria.

* Morning stiffness more than an hour.

* Arthritis and soft-tissue swelling of more than 3 joints

* Arthritis of hand

* Symmetric arthritis

* Specific subcutaneous nodules

* High rheumatoid factor

* Radiological changes showing joint erosion

At least four criteria are needed to establish the diagnosis.

Immunological and other studies help to confirm the diagnosis: rheumatoid factor, anti-citrullinated protein antibodies, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, blood count, renal function tests, liver enzymes, antinuclear antibody. HLA marker DR4 is an important risk factor.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Specialty Sleep
Among the many chronic joint diseases is rheumatoid arthritis, which manifests itself in painful inflammation of the joint lining. It can lead to long term damage, loss of joint function and permanent disability.

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by three distinct phases, Stage I includes the swelling of the joint lining which causes pain and swelling around the effected joint, Stage II is characterized by the thickening of the joint lining and in Stage III the thickened lining can actually cause the bone and cartilage to deteriorate leading to disability and obviously misshapen and misaligned joints.

The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are still unknown and there is no cure. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease but on that can be managed with early diagnosis and treatment. Early diagnosis is usually the key to maintaining a sufferer's quality of life as treatment can prevent Stage III rheumatoid arthritis and thereby prevent permanent joint damage and disability.

Part of early treatment is maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which in turn means getting plenty of healthy sleep that lets your joints and muscles completely relax. Some sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis automatically go out and seek the firmest mattress they can find because they have been lauded for skeletal support.

This can be counter-productive however because firm mattresses end up putting more pressure on specific joints of the body and this can actually exacerbate rheumatoid arthritis. Side sleepers, with arthritis in the hips or knees are especially susceptible to this issue.

While many arthritis sufferers have found relief with newer pillows and specialty mattress pads, they really should think about going further to improve their rest and health. For complete rest and physical relaxation, the body must be consistently supported. With pressure distributed properly over the entire body, there is no single area taking the brunt.

One of the only specialty sleep products available that can afford this kind of even pressure distribution is memory foam. Visco elastic memory foam was developed by Nasa to help astronauts in space and although it was never used in that application, it has been widely used in hospitals to help patients that must rest in bed for long periods of time.

Memory foam mattresses can be an excellent idea for anyone who suffers pressure or inflammatory joint conditions. The material is firmly supportive and yet can contour to any individual's body. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis in your shoulder, hips or knees, memory foam will not aggravate these joints, rather it will allow them to sink in and be supported while your overall spinal alignment is achieved. In many instances, memory foam mattress toppers of a substantial enough thickness can improve your sleep situation as well.

When looking to buy a memory foam product, you must remember that the density of the memory foam is the most important feature. You'll want 5lb density memory foam and above in your memory foam topper or memory foam mattress to ensure maximum support and longevity of the mattress. If you have a pressure related condition like arthritis, you may also want to spend the extra money and get the thicker topper, a 3 inch rather than 1.5 inch or a 12 inch mattress as opposed to an 8 inch.

The brand name of your memory foam bed is not as important as the density of the foam and the warranty you can get from the manufacturer! Because rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition, investing in the right specialty sleep product that will help you get the restorative rest you need, will be critical to both your physical and emotional well being.

When your body is able to rest in sleep and your mind is able to let go for several hours, you will that much more prepared to face another day. If you suffer from a debilitating disease like rheumatoid arthritis, don't let your sleep suffer.

Vitamin K, An Arthritis Preventative Home Remedy
Most all of us will have to deal with arthritis joint pain - joint inflammation and deterioration of cartilage - at some time. Arthritis occurs in the knees, elbow, fingers, and any where there is a bone joint. Where it occurs in your body will be determined by genetics, diet, and repetitive use of the joint.

As with most illness or body conditions there is always a home remedy that can help reduce, eliminate or even cure the condition. There are many natural cures for arthritis and many home remedies.

Here is one natural substance that reduces the severity of arthritis and provides a more natural balance and function of bone and chemicals at the bone joint - vitamin k.

Vitamin k also gives blood the ability to form blood clots, which prevent us from bleeding to death whenever we cut ourselves.

There has been recent activity in testing vitamin k for the prevention of arthritis and for reducing the severity of bone degeneration. In her studies, Tuhina Neogi, of Boston University School of Medicine found that low levels of vitamin k in individual activated bone and cartilage deterioration. And, those found with low vitamin k also had more severe arthritis.

So what does all of this mean? When you are deficient in vitamin k you are more susceptible to bone and cartilage degeneration and abnormities. As you age and start to have arthritis and you are deficient in vitamin k your arthritis will be more severe.

Here's how to get more vitamin k in your diet. You can take vitamin k supplement in doses of 5 to 15 mg daily. Look for plant based vitamin k1 and k2 since these have no toxicity associated with them. Avoid using K3 which is the synthetic form, which can cause liver toxicity.

For those of you that are using blood thinning medication, coumadin, it best not to use vitamin k supplements. In some cases doctors also recommend not eating those foods that are high in vitamin k.

But if you not taking blood thinning medication and have no major cardiovascular conditions then supplementing with vitamin k should not be a problem.

Here are some foods that you should be eating daily to get natural organic vitamin k:

Dark green leafy vegetables of all kinds, chestnut leaves, spinach leaves, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, endive, olive oil, avocados, meat, egg yolk, cheese, yogurt.

Start eating more dark green vegetables and add a small amount of vitamin k to your daily diet. This will help you offset the degradation of you bone joints and reduce the severity of arthritis as you use your joints more and more.

Are You Stricken With Chronic Inflammatory Arthritis?
Arthritis generally comes in two forms osteoarthritis and inflammatory-arthritis. For this article we will discuss inflammatory-arthritis and natural herbal alternatives for reducing swelling and pain. The popular option for controlling arthritis pain is taking prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; these drugs have been linked to cardiovascular, kidney and liver disease. If that doesn't sound appealing, natural alternatives are available for inflammatory arthritis. Herbs like boswellia, ginger, skullcap, turmeric, acacia, hops, holy basil, feverfew, and white willow bark. Fortunately supplement manufacturers have learned about the anti-inflammatory properties of these herbs and do make them in various combinations to help relieve swelling and pain.

The first one on the list is boswellia, has a long history of use as a mild anti-inflammatory herb for joint pain and stiffness, and noted by herbalists of its effectiveness.

The primary compound in boswellia known for its anti-inflammatory affect is boswellic acid, when purchasing boswellia always look for products standardized to boswellic acid. Ginger root has been known for its anti-inflammatory affects as well, ginger inhibits the production of the immune-system components called cytokines which cause inflammation in the body.

Ginger is also known as a COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitor in suppressing prostaglandin synthesis which would reduce inflammation in the body. Ginger also stimulates circulation helping the body bring vital blood and nutrients to the inflamed areas of the body. Skullcap is used in traditional Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory herb.

Turmeric also known as Curcumin has been used in Asia, India, china, central and south America as an anti-inflammatory herb for many years. The curcuminoids in turmeric has been clinically proven to reduce inflammation. Turmeric is also a potent antioxidant good for fighting free radical damage which tend to cause inflammation in the body. Acacia and hops are both traditionally used for inflammation and pain.

Feverfew since the first century has been used for the treatment of headaches, fever, menstrual discomfort, arthritis, and other aches and pains. According to a clinical trial study in England, feverfew when taken for three to four months can reduce the severity and frequency of migraines and other sorts of pain.

Feverfew acts in a manner like the class of pain relievers known as COX-2 inhibitors, feverfew also reduces the absorption of thymidine by white blood cells, this will reduce the rate at which leukotrienes is produced which is a inflammatory chemical in the body.

Finally, white willow bark has been used like aspirin as a pain killer with out the aspirin side effects. White willow has been used for fever, colds, minor infections, acute and chronic rheumatic disorders, mild headaches, and pain caused by inflammation.

According to a clinical study done on white willow bark in England, researchers at the center for Complementary Health Studies at the University of Exeter gave eighty two participants with chronic arthritic pain either Reumalex, herbal supplement with white willow, or placebo. After two months the white willow herb proved to be superior to the placebo pill.

This is by far a complete list of herbs good for reducing inflammation in the body but it is a good start to help you on your way to recovering from inflammatory arthritis. As always, the statements in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease please consult your health care physician before discontinuing medication or introducing herbs into your diet if you are currently on medication of any kind.

How hemp seed oil can help your arthritis
There is a huge problem that exists today with the enormous number of people suffering from arthritis in its many forms. It is said that well over half the population of this country who are over 60 suffer from either osteo or rheumatoid arthritis.

What both forms of the disease actually are I will not go into here, as it is a long and complex subject. But, arthritis is a form of inflammation which mainstream medicine appears unable to address.

Both are caused by what I call "bone and cartilage gravel", the bits of bone and cartilage which are left in the joints after the body has started to degenerate, rubbing in the joints each time it moves. This "gravel" rubs on the nerve ends, causing pain, whilst at the same time creating more damage as the "gravel" continues to rub away more of the bone and cartilage. In other words, a vicious circle that modern medicine cannot resolve.

But there are ways in the alternative remedy field that may, and I know of many cases that have, been able to break this circle.

I recommend that a daily Hemp Oil Capsule, or the liquid neat, which is quite tasty, and can be taken off a spoon, should be considered long term. Hemp Oil comes from hemp seed: THE MOST NUTRITIONALLY COMPLETE FOOD SOURCE IN THE WORLD.

Taking a quality Hemp Oil is just the same for your body as putting oil in your car's engine. It lubricates the system. Hemp is unique with an almost perfectly balanced profile of Omega 3, 6 & 9 to match the body's requirements.

Uniquely among common seed oil, it also contains GLA (Gamma-Linolenic Acid) and even more uniquely, raises circulating GLA.

GLA (Gamma-Linolenic Acid) research around the world has shown that hemp oil (as can all essential fatty acids) boosts the body's natural ability to heal and also boosts our immune systems. The Essential Fatty Acids in hemp are renowned for their ability to improve cell growth and organ function, vitality and mental state.

Extensive studies have shown that many common illnesses (such as Eczema, Arthritis and many other problems) are related to deficiencies or imbalances of specific fatty acids, and in particular, Omega 3, 6 & 9. Seeds of the plant cannabis sativa, hemp seed (not the drug plant!) contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. No other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form, nor has the essential fatty acids in as perfect a ratio to meet human nutritional needs.

Its distinctive nutty flavour makes it ideal for use in salad dressings, dips etc., as an accompaniment to all vegetables, or taken straight, as a nutritional supplement.

Hemp Oil is suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans.

Natural Remedy For Arthritis
Pain relief is the main area of concern for the sufferers of arthritis. These people have often tried traditional medications without success, they are often not eligible for surgery and as a result, they will see relieve through natural remedies for arthritis.

Because of the increasing cost of the prescription medications, most of the arthritis sufferers are seeking natural remedies for arthritis. Many natural remedies of arthritis and supplements are helpful in reduction of cartilage deterioration and even rebuild a patient's lost cartilage. Supplements However it is advisable to consult a healthcare advisor before starting any natural remedy for arthritis as supplements can cause adverse reactions and may not be right for your situation.

You should remember one thing that the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements. This is because, plants, fats, proteins and animal organs and tissues as well as herbs, minerals and vitamins doesn't need approval from FDA.

So some supplements may be beneficial to arthritic patients and some may not. Note also that producers of supplements may very well promote that their supplements work great, but they do not have to use standardized ingredients or recipes, disclose side effects that have been reported, nor prove that the products are indeed effective. Chondroitin, Fish Oil and Glucosamine

The most popular dietary supplements for arthritis sufferers are chondroitin, fish oil and glucosamine. Chondroitin is helpful in drawing fluid into the cartilage, improving the ability of shock-absorbing and weight control, as more weight leads to more joint pressure. Fish oils are helpful in controlling the inflammation in the body.

According to a recent study, glucosamine is a cartilage-building substance, which is effective in long-term relief of osteoarthritis pain. In some people, glucosamine appears to even slow the deterioration of joints over time and strengthen the joint cartilage.

It is still unclear whether glucosamine is helpful in curing arthritis or not. In some occasions, glucosamine can be used in conjunction with MSM, a substance that appears to slow down the deterioration but is not yet proven and approved.

Natural Remedy For arthritis In Brief:

* Vitamin E - This antioxidant is used primarily for osteoarthritis.
* Vitamin B is also an effective pain reliever. It works best on the knee and can help stop degeneration that is caused by free-radical molecules, not only in the joints but in other areas of the body as well
* Ginger - Ginger is an antioxidant that acts as an inflammatory with no major side effects.
* Glucosamine sulfate - This builds cartilage with very few side effects.
* MSM - This organic sulfur is used in the reduction of inflammation.
* Nettle leaf - Nettles can reduce a patient's need for NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) by up to 70 percent.
* Chondroitin - Helps draw fluid into cartilage, improving shock-absorbing ability.
* Magnets - Although magnets that are worn as jewelry or placed on bed linens have been reported by some to be effective pain relievers, results are still preliminary; doctors claim that these magnets are not strong enough.

These are merely a few instances of what an arthritis sufferer can use when he wants to go for natural remedy for arthritis. However, due to the lack of scientific study and testing on many of these alternate arthritis treatments, there is no proof of their effectiveness.

Unfortunately, there is no cure available for arthritis. But you can delay the effects of arthritis by maintaining a healthy weight. Exercise regularly and eat a healthy and avoid repetitious movements that cause you pain.

Actually osteoarthritis is not curable, but nutritional supplements, exercise, weight loss, and the application of heat or cold to affected joints can improve the function and flexibility of your joints, and perhaps even slow the progress of the disease.

There's no doubt that the topic of Arthritis remedies can be fascinating. If you still have unanswered questions about arthritis cure, you may find what you're looking for in our website.

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